Boeing has commenced the production of the US Air Force’s (USAF) T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer.
This milestone was marked as the first US portion of the trainer officially entered the company’s production line.
Boeing T-7 Programmes vice-president Chuck Dabundo said: “This is a historic moment for the programme and industry.
“The build process leverages full-size determinant assembly, which allows technicians to build the aircraft with minimal tooling and drilling during the assembly process. The digital process accounts for a 75% increase in first-time quality.”
Designated as eT-7A by the USAF, the Red Hawk training jet was fully designed using 3D model-based definition and data management systems.
The jet is an advanced pilot training system being offered by Boeing in partnership with Saab.
In December, Boeing began the production of T-7A Red Hawk’s ground-based training system (GBTS).
Boeing noted that the T-7A Red Hawk jet employed Boeing T-X aircraft’s digital engineering and design.
The jet also incorporates advanced ground-based live and virtual simulators. These simulators will give students and instructors a real-life training experience.
Boeing strike, surveillance and mobility senior vice-president Shelley Lavender said: “The future of air dominance lies in the ability to move quickly, take smart risks and partner in new ways to get the job done.
“By creating aircraft and systems along a digital thread, we can accelerate build times and increase quality and affordability for our customers in a way that has never been done before.”
In September 2018, the USAF awarded Boeing a $9.2bn contract to supply 351 advanced trainer aircraft and 46 ground-based training simulators associated with the aircraft.
Saab is teamed with Boeing on the trainer and provides the aft fuselage of the jet.